Maria’s Libraries/Busia Community Library
The product of the 1988 vision of community leader Maria Wafula, Busia Community Library serves a population of about 500,000 along the Kenya-Uganda border. Maria’s dynamism led to successful working relationships with local organizational bodies such as Family Support Services, garnering the project additional support from the Kenya National Library Service in 2000. In 2008, it formally affiliated with the new umbrella library network Maria’s Libraries. At the Beyond Access 2012 Conference, the library received the Library Innovators Award for its Mama Mtoto Storytime project, which promotes literacy among mothers and their young children.
Kenya National Library Service
The Kenya National Library Service promotes, develops, establishes, and equips libraries in Kenya. Through reading campaigns and other programs, the service promotes literacy — as of 2010, Kenya’s overall literacy rate was over 87%, according to the CIA World Factbook. But a 2006 study found that the majority of those considered literate had not acquired the desired level of literacy and were at risk of losing their skills or could not perform effectively. The library service has begun to address this issue by working with community libraries like Busia to promote digital literacy as well as traditional literacy.